By Hand From The Heart is a curated Makers Market event in South India. Upcoming Events: 22nd Edition: 2nd – 3rd February '18 in Coimbatore | 23rd Edition: 16th – 17th – February '18 in Chennai.
Potter Ranjita Bora teaches and assists Ray Meeker at Golden Bridge Pottery, located in the heart of Pondicherry. A trained chef, Ranjita pursued her passion for pottery and has make a mark for herself as an independent potter. Ranjita hand crafts high temperature stoneware and wood fired functional pottery. We catch up with Rajita about her pottery and her showcase at our Makers Market.
A bit about yourself and what you do.
I started my career as a chef and worked for nearly 9 years in kitchens in Mumbai and England. Food has always been a major influence in my life, and it still remains so. A few years ago, I switched from being a chef to a potter. Or as I call it, from “making dishes to making dishes.”
Why is making important to you?
I’ve always liked working with my hands. Creating came naturally. And when I discovered clay, I guess it was a natural inclination towards a medium which can be shaped into forms, objects and functional pieces. I continue to create as it’s now my profession.
What’s the most challenging or exciting project you’ve worked on.
I can’t single out one particular project, but it’s always exciting to learn or experiment with a new form, make sure it works the way it’s supposed to. It’s a challenge, but very satisfying if it turns out the way you envisioned it.
Where do you look for inspiration? And what is inspiring you now?
Everyday life, colours, patterns, textures – everything is inspiring. Even my workplace, for example. I am lucky to be surrounded by greenery where I work. A simple form like the fern finds its way into my pots – you’ll find it in some of my latest work. When I’m cycling to and fro the studio everyday, I watch and observe things – from patterns in a saree to different motifs and signs.
Describe your work space and what’s it like?
I work at Golden Bridge pottery in the heart of Pondicherry and have my own space where I operate from. It’s open and surrounded by nature; I guess I’m lucky to call this my working space.
What is a typical day at your studio like.
When I’m not teaching, I’m involved in various aspects of clay. My work, in the very literal sense is “by hand, from the heart”! I do everything – starting from making the clay, designing, throwing, trimming and glazing. The longest is the firing process in a wood kiln, where the clay goes up to temperatures of 1300 degree C and this process lasts up to 20 hours. I also have to market my own products, make sure some of my work is reaching out to handmade enthusiasts. So, I could be doing any one of these things on a typical day.
Tell us about your proposed showcase at the By Hand, From The Heart
I focus on functional work, and so my collection will have pottery you can use at your home, in your living spaces, serve your food in. Since I’ve been a chef, I also think a lot about what kind of dish can be used for what purpose. From serving dishes, to storage jars, to casseroles – I will have a whole range of products from my latest collection that I’ll be showcasing.
What’s the best thing about being a design entrepreneur?
Design is definitely an integral part of the process of creating. And as I mentioned I do give a lot of thought to what and how my products will and can be used.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten along the way in building your business?
I am still building my business – right now I’m still figuring out the basics. It’s more of trying to break even as an artist. But there have been a lot of important lessons along the way. It’s a learning journey, and I’m sure there’s a long way to go.
Your advice for aspiring craft entrepreneurs?
No advice, but just keep persevering and stay close to your passion. I think it’s important to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing when you are going through a rough phase.
I enjoy the city and I feel there’s a definite interest and appreciation in handmade. I’ve met some great people at the earlier editions of By Hand From the Heart and I am looking forward to this edition too.
Potter Ranjita Bora will showcase her handcrafted ceramics at By Hand From The Heart: MAKERS MARKET – 18th Edition
Friday – Saturday, 5th – 6th August, 2016
10:00 a.m – 8:00 p.m
Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park
132, T.T.K Road, Alwarpet, Chennai – 600018, Tamil Nadu. India